A controlled trial of weight-bearing versus non-weight-bearing exercises for patellofemoral pain

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007 Apr;37(4):155-60. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2007.2433.


Study design: Randomized controlled trial, pretest-posttest design.

Objectives: To compare the efficacy of non-weight-bearing single-joint quadriceps exercise (SJNWBE) versus weight-bearing multiple-joint quadriceps exercise (MJWBE) for individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).

Background: PFPS is a common ailment of the knee. Both weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing exercises are considered appropriate for strengthening the quadriceps, a key element in the treatment of this condition.

Methods and measures: Forty-five male subjects with PFPS between 18 and 35 years of age were randomized into 1 of 3 groups. Group 1 (SJNWBE) performed knee extension exercises, group 2 (MJWBE) performed seated leg press exercises, and group 3 (control group) received no treatment. Subjective symptoms, knee extensor muscle strength, and functional performance were evaluated at the time of the initial examination and at the end of the 6-week treatment period.

Results: Individuals in both exercise groups demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in pain and an increase in muscle strength and functional performance, as compared to the control group (P<.05). All measures showed no significant differences in outcome between the 2 exercise groups (P>.05).

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that both weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing quadriceps exercises can significantly improve subjective and clinical outcomes in patients with PFPS.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / rehabilitation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*